A healthy lifestyle would require eating the right food in the right amounts, getting adequate rest, and having proper exercise.
The problem is, exercise could actually be detrimental to some people, for example, those who are suffering from arthritis or weak joints, pregnant women and those who have some kind of injury. Common exercises, such as jogging and running, place a lot of impact on muscles and joints. Though exercise should be able to stretch your muscles and make your body sweat, you should be very careful to learn how to listen to your body. Know the difference between healthy exertion and overstraining that brings about pain. And that's where water exercise routines come in.
Doing your exercises in water provide less impact on your body, particularly on your joints. As opposed to the pounding that your body experiences with every step of running or aerobic jumping, water fluid buoyancy reduces your body weight by about 90%, thus reducing the stress that your body puts on your weight-bearing joints and muscles. Water thus acts like a cushion that protects your body from too much strain that exercise normally brings on.
That being said, what are some of the best pool exercise routines and aquatic exercises that would help you keep fit?
- One of these is water jogging. If you're a beginner, you could try this out first in shallow water, although as your body grows in endurance then you could begin to do this in waist-high water, then about chest-high water. Do about 1-2 laps and don't hesitate to rest whenever you get too tired – don't overexert yourself.
- Apart from basic water jogging, there are many other water aerobic exercises that aim to tone your muscles, make your body more flexible, which improves your breathing and strengthens specific muscle areas.
- Before you start any workouts, do some stretching. In shoulder-level water, stand on one foot while pulling in the other knee towards your chest. Slowly pull it further towards your body, feeling the stretch up to your hip and thigh. Hold it for about five counts, and then do the same to your other leg.
- For toning your muscles, determine which muscle area you would like to start with. For your shoulder area, routines you could do include standing at water shoulder level, raising both your arms below the highest level, and then making small circles, a set of ten forward then a set of ten backward. To further strengthen your shoulder and arm muscles, try attaching water weights on your arms.
- Next, tone your hips and legs. Hold on to the pool's edge and allow the water to lift both legs behind you. Making sure not to bend your knees; do some swimming kicks. The trick here is to move your legs using your hips as fulcrum. Also, remember to move your legs just a short distance, don't overreach, and move your legs about 12 to 15 inches only.
- A fun exercise you could try out (if you're comfortable enough with water and you know how to swim) is called a bobbing exercise. Go to water that is about one to two feet above your height. Fill your lungs with air, and then allow your body to sink down to the pool bottom. At the bottom, bend your knees in squatting position, exhaling gradually, and then push your feet against the floor and spring up to the surface again.
The best thing about water exercises is that you don't really need a lot of equipment (for even shoes!) to do them, and if you don't have a pool at your home, chances are high that you would be able to find a community pool center near you. If you feel you have a hard time committing to daily exercise routines if you are doing it by yourself, you could enroll at a pool aerobic program. An additional advantage to this is that you would be able to enjoy people's company and experience more motivation if you are doing group exercises.